- Last Updated: 3:14 PM, May 6, 2012
- Posted: 2:18 AM, May 6, 2012
Eli Manning’s hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live” paralleled his usual performance as Giants QB – a clean showing, solid highlights, no major fumbles.
He even got in a dig on big brother Peyton, who struck SNL gold when he hosted in 2007.
And yes, if you stuck through the end of the show, you saw Eli wearing big hair and lipstick and frilly yellow for a drag show skit, the kind of image that could leave die-hard Giants fans with indigestion.
Manning does that during some of his games, too. He’s known for the occasional errant pass.
But this is a guy with two Super Bowl wins, two gut-check victories in front of more than 100 million worldwide TV viewers. You experience those moments, and suddenly live sketch comedy doesn’t seem so daunting.
Eli’s monologue saw him introducing his offensive line in the crowd and calling Saturday “definitely the third-most exciting night of my life” following those two Super Bowl wins over the New England Patriots.
“I finally feel like a real New Yorker,” he said. “It took a few years, but now I’m an expert.”
The ‘expert’ then fielded questions from the audience, instructing them to go to Olive Garden (in New Jersey!) for good NYC Italian food.
“Hey, I play for the New York Giants, and all my games are played in New Jersey,” he said.
He professed his love for the musical “Cats” – it ended its Broadway run in 2000, by the way – then discussed one of his favorite hobbies.
“I get some bulky shopping bags and three of the fattest kids I can find … then we all walk hand-in-hand next to each other in Times Square, slow as heck,” he said. “It’s so fun.”
The fun continued with the mock ad for the “Little Brothers” program, a send-up to bro Peyton’s “United Way” skit.
“Little Brothers” starts with Eli providing mentorship to some children in a park. A nice, happy scene.
Then things turn dark, with Manning dispensing wedgies, swirlies, arrows and abuse to bullying big brothers.
In one image, Eli stands over an open trunk, a boy (Andy Samberg) lying inside.
“Maybe now you’ll learn to treat your younger brother with some respect, Peyton!” Eli says.
“My name’s not Peyton!”
“Whatever,” and Eli slams the trunk on the bully, taking out his own younger sibling insecurities on somebody else.
Another highlight was the “EA Sports” motion action shoot skit, which saw Manning struggling to come up with a suitable celebration pose.
Tebowing? NO, that's already taken.
Maybe Eli should incorporate the “dropped sandwich, check to see if anybody’s watching, picking it up and eat it” into his next TD pass.
The quarterback also drew laughs as an accused murderer recreating emoticons and explaining horndog texts and cell phone snapshots to the courtroom.
And then there was the drag thing …
It’s strange seeing a football star with tear-tinged mascara running down his face.
For the record, sports figures such as Charles Barkley and Derek Jeter have both donned skirts for the show.
Eli’s appearance in drag as "Miss Chicken Fried Steak" may have brought some indigestion. But when the lights were brightest Eli starred, as he’s been known to do over the past half-decade. He stuck to the script. He didn’t throw his chance away.
He had fun. He smiled. And we smiled, too, watching little brother have his moment.